Weekend Roundup: Carmen, Ceramics, Cases, Card Care, and Codenames

It’s the weekend, which means you’re ready to catch up on the things not quite worth reading a full article about… but still interesting enough for a roundup. There’s a lot of Apple news, a blast from the past, and a complete and total sigh of relief in Android-land.

Ready? Let’s do this!

Where In The World Is… Oh, In Your Pocket

If you’re of a certain age, chances are good that you played “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” at school. It was “educational,” which is a low-key way of saying you learned some things about geography (RIP Yugoslavia) while playing a game. It was better than your typical classroom material!

Now “Carmen” is coming back as a handheld game. The adorable handheld looks like an old Apple II, and you’re given a few very clunky buttons to navigate and select items in the tiny (and crappy) screen.

Nostalgia is high right now. This one will make you feel like you’re back in the computer lab at school, hammering away at those old (crappy!) mechanical keyboards, ducking down so teachers don’t see you.

And if you really want to go all-in, the company making this one has an “Oregon Trail” game, too. You know what that means: get nostalgic for digital dysentery!

The Whole Bushel of Apples

It’s smartphone season, and Apple’s iPhone event is slated for sometime next month (it’ll be on the 10th, trust us). And to celebrate, the rumor mill has… well, spoiled everything.

Between September and its other routine event in the Spring, Apple is rumored to be updating just about everything. Here’s the rundown, via Bloomberg:

  • Three new iPhones: and XR successor, and “Pro” models to replace the XS and XS Max. A new three-camera system will be the main draw, which allows for wider angle shots and a lot of augmented reality features like editing video and applying effects in real-time. Of course, the whole system will be better than the last version. Sadly, 3D Touch is going away in favor of the haptic system the current XR has. The front-facing FaceID camera will have a wider view. You’ll also be able to use ‘reverse charging’ to power up AirPods. Case manufacturers are already tipping Apple’s hand.
  • Apple Watch will see some new case finishes, including ceramic and titanium. We’re hoping to see black ceramic this time around!
  • AirPods are slated for a Spring refresh with water resistance and noise cancellation, and a higher price-point than the current $159.
  • A new HomePod with two tweeters (the current HomePod has 7) is also in the works, and should see a significant drop for the current $300 price-point. We’re hoping Apple opens it up beyond Apple Music and allows some direct Spotify streaming via Siri commands, but who knows?
  • The 16-inch MacBook is also said to be coming in the Spring, and should headline that event. Happily, it’s keeping the same overall footprint as the 15-inch model.

Android Goes on a Diet

After 10 years of gluttony, Android is ditching its dessert-based naming scheme and getting a slimmer font.

Because a dessert starting with the letter ‘Q’ is too hard, Google is going with “Android 10” instead. Android VP of product management, Sameer Samat, tells The Verge that desserts with the letter Q aren’t inclusive enough for its worldwide audience. Which is a lot of hot garbage, because there are a ton of places in the world where Kit-Kats aren’t a big deal, either. Or ice cream sandwiches. Or gingerbread. Or jellybeans.

Let’s all just admit the Android team screwed up all those years ago with having a naming scheme at all, and it finally caught up with them. Samat says dessert-based codenames will live on within Google, though.

Kid-Gloved Card Care

Apple released its credit card to everyone this week, and hey, who cares? It’s a credit card. It doesn’t do much more than any other credit card.

But Apple has some pretty amazing rules for “caring” for the credit card. In a nutshell, you should keep it in a museum-quality display case suspended in mid-air by magician’s wire, guarded by an alarm system that would make Daniel Ocean and friends think twice.

Naturally the pundits are rolling over and showing Apple their belly on this one, but it’s a credit card. It’s metal, and will scratch and get screwed up, and you can just order another one if it looks shoddy after a while. If you’re all about keeping some credit card pristine, that’s weird, but you do you.

Have a great weekend!